view from central park

Tel Aviv’s goofy superhero window cleaners


When I saw a photo circulating of a tall building with “window cleaners” in the form of superheroes hanging down, my interest was piqued. The caption described superheroes delivering Purim mishlochei manot to children at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. How sweet and how creative! I assumed it was Photoshopped, but then I saw the video — a live video, with a crowd cheering them on in Hebrew!

Superman, Batman and Spiderman swinging mishlochei manot through the hospital windows. Some of those children’s fantasies did materialize. Look, it’s a bird, it’s a plane —  no, it’s hamantaschen! They were flying through hospital windows into childrens’ hands. Tossed not by static photo heroes or film superheroes, but by real superheroes.

That of sense of care and fun can’t be topped. That’s Israel.

On the Shabbat preceding Purim, Jews gather in synagogues to hear a brief paragraph read from the Torah that boils down to: Don’t forget what the Amalekites did to you when you were refugees leaving Egypt. It’s a bit of a strange ritual. One would think it healthier to focus on the future, not to dwell on wrongs of the past. Forgive and forget, right? But before Purim, we pause to remember when a descendant of Amalek threatened the first genocide of the Jews.

We remember the essence of Amalek — it attacked the Jewish stragglers, the vulnerable. Purim celebrates the relief from the actual physical threat by Amalek’s descendant, but also remembers the original Amalek — the cruelty to the weak, to the ones left behind.

The heady joy that is shared with the children at hospitals not only pulls on your heartstrings as an individual but is life-affirming as a society. This is the antithesis of Amalek; this is a society that looks after its vulnerable.

Whether or not healing is possible, bringing a smile to a child’s face always is. Maybe laughter and love might just be the best medicine after all. That’s what this photo radiated, the love and laughter you could only imagine a child would feel if the sweet surprise of a Purim basket were tossed at them through their hospital window, as if by an angel from the sky!

Copyright Intermountain Jewish News